Protect the Andean Cat from Mining and Fracking

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Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site

Don't let environmental destruction, habitat loss and fragmentation caused by extensive mining and fracking drive the Andean cat extinct. Take action!


The Andean cat is one of the rarest and least-known cats in the world1.

Measuring up to two feet long, 14 inches high and between 8-13 pounds, the Andean cat is distinguished by its ash grey and yellowish-brown facial markings. The cat's ears are rounded and stick up, while their long tails stretch 70% of their body length to help them balance on the mountainous Andes terrain2.

This elusive creature lives exclusively in the Andes Mountains and Patagonia steppe, where climates are harsh and food is scarce3. Sadly, because of many human factors, the Andean cat population is rapidly decreasing—with estimates of fewer than 1,400 remaining today2.

Andean cats are hunted for food and used for spiritual ceremonies by indigenous communities. Around livestock, the Andean cat is hunted as a pest. But these threats pale in comparison to the environmental destruction, habitat loss and fragmentation caused by extensive mining, fracking, expansion of agricultural activity and inadequate livestock management4.

Since 2013, Patagonia as well as some of the most vulnerable and biodiverse regions of the South Andes have been bound by a fracking agreement between Argentina, Chevron, and Argentine YPF oil company5. The agreement allows the Vaca Muerta shale reserve to be exploited for crude oil. This poses a great threat to all the inhabitants of the Southern Andes and Patagonian range in the region, especially endemic and vulnerable populations like the Andean cat.

There are no Andean cats in captivity. Almost all we know about this species comes from a few observations made in the wild6. Outside of a few packs, the major Andean cat habitat is isolated to the high desert of the Andes, which means land conservation can make an impact on the survival of the species7.

Police and wildlife official enforcement of these policies is sparse, with some of the areas the cat lacking frequent policing or any enforcement at all. Because the range of the Andean Mountain cat spans four different countries each sect of law enforcement is acting independently of each other, leading to uneven distribution rates and inefficient policing9.

You can also help save this species by asking the governments of Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina to place stronger regulations on mining and agricultural activity on Andean cat habitat. Sign the petition and help us save the Andean cat from extinction!

More on this issue:

  1. Celeste Yarnall, Celestial Pets (5 October 2022), "The Andean Feline: A Rare And Elusive Cat."
  2. Teresa Bergen, InHabitat (13 December 2021), "Endangered Andean cats found just outside Santiago."
  3. Animalia (2022), "Andean Mountain Cat."
  4. International Society for Endangered Cats (ISEC) Canada (2018), "Andean Cat."
  5. Susan Walker, Martin Funes, Lara Heidel, Rocio Palacios and Andres Novaro, Cambridge University Press (16 December 2013), "The Endangered Andean cat and fracking in Patagonia."
  6. Sebastian Kennerknecht Photography, Cat in Thin Air (D M Y), "Andean Mountain Cat."
  7. Alianza Gato Andino (2018), "The Andean Cat."
  8. Anna Sosnowski, Virginia Commonwealth University, "Preservation of the Andean Mountain Cat."
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The Petition:

To the governments of Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina,

The Andean cat that lives in the mountainous regions between your countries is one of the rarest and least-known cats in the world.

Only an estimated 1,400 Andean cats remain alive in the wild, highly threatened by environmental destruction and habitat collapse caused by large scale mining and fracking operations. This species will soon disappear without your support.

Patagonia as well as some of the most vulnerable and biodiverse regions of the South Andes have been bound by a fracking agreement between Argentina, Chevron, and Argentine YPF oil company since 2013. The agreement allows the Vaca Muerta shale reserve to be exploited for crude oil. This poses a great threat to all the inhabitants of the Southern Andes and Patagonian range in the region, especially endemic and vulnerable populations like the Andean cat.

A moratorium on new mining and fracking leases would grant Andean wildlife and indigenous communities a much needed reprieve from the threat of extinction.

I implore you to ban new mining and natural gas extraction leases in the Andes mountains, and give the Andean cat a chance to survive.

Sincerely,

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Signatures: